Five thoughts recap: Toronto Raptors 125, Indiana Pacers 113

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Well, it’s over. The Toronto Raptors’ long, 72-games-on-the-road 2020-21 season has finally come to an end, with a loss to the Indiana Pacers.

There’s not much to take away from this one, as the Raptors barely fielded a legitimate team. So let’s quickly run through the thoughts and bounce, much in the same way the Raptors are probably doing right now as they flee Florida for friendlier shores.

1. Six

I can’t believe the Raptors only played six players yesterday! Is that the fewest players ever to play for the Raptors in one game? It must be, right?

I’m a bit surprised Gary Trent didn’t play in this one. Asking six guys to cover 48 minutes is a lot, and I have to think the Raptors still want to get a look at what Trent can do.

But, I guess in this messed up season, finished it with five players playing 41+ minutes in a game that means absolutely nothing is about right.

2. Triple Big

With only six players, and three of them centres, you knew we’d see the rare triple towers lineup out there! Who do you think is the three when Aron Baynes, Khem Birch and Freddie Gillespie share the floor? As the (ahem) best three-point shooter of the bunch, I guess it’s Baynes?

Playing only six guys, with three of them being centres, robs this game of any real ability to evaluate players. When is that lineup ever going to share the floor again? When is anyone going to play with three centres again?

Back to Baynes, he ended up with a season-high 14, but that was a little short of the number I wanted him to hit…

3. Give me 30!

I simply can’t believe no Raptors scored 30 points yesterday! As you surely know, the Raptors already set an NBA record this season with 10 30-point scorers; looking at the lineup yesterday, it certainly seemed possible that they’d notch one more. After all, someone had to score! And if you looked at the box score and did the math… six players, 113 total points… someone must have hit 30!

Alas, the unselfish Raptors shared the rock a little too well, and three guys scored between 23 and 27. When Malachi Flynn scored his 27th point with about 90 seconds to go, I thought he might have a chance! But he didn’t get another shot.

4. Double Wedgie!

I honestly don’t think I’ve seen a game with two wedgies before. I’m not 100% sure though, so I can’t file this under “Nope, Never Seen That One Before,” and I don’t think ESPN Stats & Info is tracking wedgies.

I’m sure a double wedgie is, somehow, a metaphor for this lost Raptors season in Tampa. But after 350-odd thoughts over the course of the year, I can’t figure it out. I’m just stuck.

5. The Ones That Got Away

Oshae Brissett had a big scoring game for the Pacers yesterday — a career-high 31 — and overall he’s played extremely well for the Pacers this season, averaging 10 points and five boards on 47/40/79 shooting. How did the Raptors let this one get away?

I would ask the same question about Alize Johnson, who played for the Raptors 905 this year — his biggest skill is rebounding, something the Raptors desperately needed this year, and he’s averaging five points and five boards in just 10 minutes a game for the Nets.

Is this a failure of the Raptors’ fabled development program? I actually think this is more of a dollars-and-cents issue; the Raptors typically carry fewer payers on their roster than they have to, in order to save a few bucks. They could have kept Brissett around or brought Johnson in on a 10-day, but chose not to. That’s a bummer.

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So that’s a wrap! We’ll have plenty of offseason coverage in the weeks and months ahead, including player reviews, and I’ll be wrapping things up with some thoughts on the season overall later this week.

For now, let me just say thank you to everyone that’s followed along and read the thoughts all season long. It’s been a long season, and sometimes these columns have been tough to write, but I’m lucky to be able to do this and I’m thankful to all of you for reading and commenting.

Onward and upward!